We sailed last year on the Carnival Dream and we were looking forward to this one going to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. I read many of the reviews of the Carnival Freedom and when I read the not so great ones my husband said people like to complain about everything. The ship decor did not bother us. Our room was rather crowded and the aft balcony was nice except when it rains you cannot sit out there. Next time we'll just go with a regular balcony room.
We never saw the person who made up our room the entire time but whoever it was did an excellent job. We only went to one adult comedy show and the comedian was very good. The movies on deck were pretty good, except for the drunks who were very loud one night and you could hardly hear the sound track for the movie. The food was great last year on the Dream and the wait staff asked your name. I don't know if Carnival is trying to save money, but the selection was not as good as on the Dream and not one wait staff asked our names. In Cozumel my husband went deep sea fishing. We later went shopping, but where we were docked was not near the main shopping district, you would have to take a cab there and back. Limon is a very poor and dirty town, we went on an excursion through the rain forest and saw mostly birds and Jesus Christ lizards. Where we docked in Panama was also a very poor and somewhat dirty town. We did the transcontinental train excursion and this was very comfortable. We were lucky enough to see a cargo ship going through the locks.
The staff that we ran into in the halls were all very friently. We did eat one night at the steak house and it was fantastic. Would we sail Carnival again, we would have to think about it. I guess you get what you pay for.